Given that Canada Post will lose about $400 million this year, and a projected $1 billion by 2020, something must be done. Canada Post’s stated remedy is puzzling. Only a competition-sheltered government monopoly could see a solution instead of a downward spiral by reducing services while raising costs sharply.
There is a better, multi-faceted option. First, door-to door delivery, for the one-third of Canadians who still get it, should continue for five years. This would permit seniors and disabled people to make residence decisions.
Second, the bulk stamp cost should be raised to 65, not 85, cents.
Third, to save the system, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) should accept adjustment of benefits. The average worker’s $23.11 wage is realistic but the 11 paid holidays, vacations between three and seven weeks, double-time wages for a sixth or seventh day, many other generous benefits, and a generous pension after 30 years at age 55 is an unsustainable package.
Fourth, postal delivery should be reduced to three days a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In this electronic age, that should meet all needs of individuals and businesses.
The postal workers should not expect much public support in their current plight. Many Canadians recall that the CUPW ignored the public interest during its 1981 42-day strike or the 1978 strike when the union defied back-to-work legislation. Or the other 18 costly work stoppages in the last 50 years.
Now, however, the CUPW, Canada Post, and the public must cooperate to save a key public service.
John H. Redekop